British Columbians Call for Action to Revamp the Justice System

Fewer than one-in-five of the province’s residents give the justice system high grades.

Vancouver, BC [December 28, 2022] – Residents of British Columbia are not particularly satisfied with the justice system, a new Research Co. poll has found.

In the online survey of a representative provincial sample, only 19% of British Columbians rate the justice system with a grade of 8, 9 or 10, while a larger proportion (25%) rate it as a 1, 2 or 3.

Half of the province’s residents (50%) provide grades ranging from 4 to 7 to the justice system.

“More than one-in-ten British Columbians (13%) give the lowest grade available to the justice system,” says Mario Canseco, President of Research Co. “This includes 17% of British Columbians aged 55 and over and 23% of residents of Indigenous descent.”

More than four-in-five British Columbians (82%) think the justice system needs more resources because it takes too long to get cases dealt with.

Sizeable majorities of British Columbians who voted for the BC Liberals (88%), the BC New Democratic Party (NDP) (85%) and the BC Green Party (73%) in the 2020 provincial election agree on calling for additional resources for the justice system.

Just under four-in-five British Columbians (79%) say the outcome of cases depends heavily on how good your lawyer is.

For almost three-in-four British Columbians (74%), the justice system is too soft on offenders when it comes to criminal cases—a proportion that jumps to 85% among those aged 55 and over.

Most British Columbians (58%) agree that the justice system has not done enough to address bias against Indigenous Canadians. Majorities of residents of Indigenous (72%), South Asian (61%), East Asian (60%) and European ancestry (51%) agree on this question.

Just under half of British Columbians (47%) have interacted with the justice system. One-in-ten (10%) went to small claims court, while more dealt with cases related to proceedings of criminal (17%), family (20%) or traffic and bylaw (22%) natures.

Majorities of British Columbians say the resolution during their last interaction with three components of the justice system was fair: traffic and bylaw (59%), small claims (53%) and family (also 53%).

British Columbians who interacted with the criminal justice system are split in their assessment of their last experience, with 46% calling the resolution fair and 45% deeming it unfair.


Results are based on an online study conducted from December 16 to December 18, 2022, among 800 adults in British Columbia. The data has been statistically weighted according to Canadian census figures for age, gender and region in British Columbia. The margin of error—which measures sample variability—is +/- 3.5 percentage points, nineteen times out of twenty.

Find our data tables here and download the press release here. 

For more information on this poll, please contact:

Mario Canseco, President, Research Co.

778.929.0490 [e]
Photo Credit: Wpcpey